Italy and the Czech’s look to build on a New Year


This week some good news to come out of Europe with the Czech’s looking to build on last years successes. While it finally seems that things are getting sorted out in Italy with a restructuring of FIRL and a new interim board elected while it come into line with Italy’s Olympic guidelines.


From Phil Caplan

The Czech Rugby League Association has hailed 2011 as, ‘a solid year of development’. On the international stage the Czech Republic won its first ever rugby league silverware with victory over Hungary XIII to secure the Rugby League European Federation Bowl.

The greatest progress, however, was on the domestic front with four teams competing in an extended domestic competition with Pardubice Jets winning the Minor Premiership – ahead of Lokomotiva Beroun, Vrchlabi Mad Squirrels and Prague Vikings – before also going on to win the first ever CZRLA Grand Final against Beroun.

Pardubice‘s season was also enhanced by hosting the inaugural CZRLA International Rugby League 9s Tournament, which was won in thrilling style by the Lebanese American University (LAU), who defeated a Belgrade select team in the decider. Pardubice will again host the international 9s over the Easter weekend in 2012.

The CZRLA, which became a Member of the RLEF in October, is seeking to expand in 2012, the Board issuing their aims and objectives for 2012 in a statement.

‘‘The domestic season will see rugby league develop further in the Czech Republic when a second division competition containing four expansion clubs will be launched,” it said.

“The Chrudim Angels, who made their debut in 2011, is almost certain to be one of those clubs with Hradec Kralove, who have been training under club founder Libor Hanzlicek and Gerard Keenan over the winter, another likely participant. The others will be selected from the eight applicants currently being scrutinsed by the CZRLA Board, with the final decision on the make-up of the 2012 season to be made after the CZRLA AGM later this month.“

In positive junior developments, 2011 saw the establishment of the first ever primary school rugby league training programmes centred around the cities of Pardubice, Brno and Prague and an inaugural tag rugby league competition involving junior teams from Opatovice, Horni Jeleni and Pardubice.

2012 will see this extended into a first ever junior Czech championship, with an under-18 team also scheduled to travel to Serbia to play in a European challenge competition.

Additionally, the Jets obtained the first ever state funding for a rugby league club when the Pardubice Regional Government recognised their input into both the local community and its economy.

Other clubs too made inroads into the corporate world with Vrchlabi, in particular, securing multiple sponsorship deals from local businesses; Beroun – formerly the ‘Black Panthers‘ – forging a deal with powerful local soccer club, Lokomotiva and re-branding themselves in exchange for access to high-quality local training and playing facilities and Prague – who also re-named themselves as the Vikings – launching a partnership with the European Super League champions Leeds Rhinos which will be beneficial in developing the international prominence and appeal of rugby league.

The CZRLA continued, “The sport is making steady, sustainable progress in establishing itself within the country’s sporting panorama. In 2011 there were 117 senior rugby league players registered in the Czech Republic with more than 90% of those Czech nationals and only three also registered with a rugby union club. It is expected that, with the introduction of the second division, that this number will be doubled.”


From Phil Caplan



The ‘Federazione Italiana Rugby League’ has declared that the start of 2012 will herald a positive era for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup qualified nation.

At its recent AGM, a newly appointed Constituent Committee has pledged to capitalise on the increased profile and visibility for the sport in Italy, gained by reaching the Finals for the first time, and that their domestic programme needs to grow accordingly.

The Committee has begun the process of redrafting the governing body’s statutes so that the new constitution will adhere to the criteria of CONI, the Italian Olympic Committee.

A thorough consultation process will ensure that all of Italian rugby league’s stakeholders are involved in the process which will ultimately see a new Board of Directors elected.

Until then, an interim Board led by a new interim president, Daniele Veronese, will direct FIRL. He commented, “I am grateful to all members of FIRL for the confidence and esteem they have shown towards me. My intention is to develop rugby league in Italy in the best possible way and to improve internal and external communication by the Federation.”

On the field, plans for the year include an eight-club championship – an increase of two sides – with applications currently being considered from development teams in Brescia, Genova, Alessandria and Torino, in the north west region and Este, Rovigo and a second Padova team, in the north east.

FIRL will also look to complete the second part of the RLEF’s Technical Strategy, which will result in the appointment of five coach and match officials tutors.

The technical staff will continue their work with Wakefield Trinity Wildcats assistant coach Paul Broadbent, who has been formally thanked by the Committee for his positive and professional work undertaken last year.


Daniel Andruczyk’s email:
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43 Responses to “Italy and the Czech’s look to build on a New Year”

  1. Chris Sanders says:

    Time for Italy to pick form within for the European Shield and as far as I’m concerned,Italy should be playing the likes of France,Wales,Ireland,Scotland and English Knights in Oct/Nov 2012!
    The RLEF have no idea and they are a circus run by clowns!!

    • druzik says:

      Their local players are in no way up to the standard of those countries. This was shown 2 years ago, even with a bunch of wring-ins. Italy, just like America and other nations do rely heavily on ex-pats and many of those are not up to that high a standard, a few exceptions of course. On the flip side I have no issues with them playing these matches as you say, its a way for a country to improve particularly if they have a stacked team, and Italy have shown this. Whether there are blow out scores or not, teams that have genuine rugby league credentials need to improve by playing better and high quality nations.

      Now is this the right way … its a fine line … on one hand you can’t deny anyone who wants to play for their country of choice and are eligible on the other hand a nations wants to do as well as it can and so chooses the best team it can from the pool or resources it has, this has meant stacking teams… on the third hand this shows the bad flip side of that policy; that it takes away any incentive for the locals to play and represent their nation.

  2. deluded pom? says:

    If heritage players can turn out in WC qualifiers they can turn out for the European Cup. For once I agree with Chris. Italy should be in there with France Wales and Scotland. I don’t think Ireland can muster up a team of a good enough standard to compete in the EC at the moment. If the heritage players can’t make it then I’d demote the Italians. Demotion is not something teams will appreciate if the intention is to make the EC a WC qualifier in future years. After all if you aren’t in the EC when the qualifiers do come around then there’s no chance of you getting to the WC.

  3. Chris Sanders says:

    Gee thanks Deluded Pom and Italy should be in the European Cup for 2012 and not in the Shield Competition and I think Ireland should be there as well!They played well against France last year at home and why lose momentum?
    The RLEF have just got no idea and time that all the people there went down the road!
    They only there because they can’t get proper jobs and the RLEF has gone pearshaped since Kevin Rudd left and I wasn’t even a Kevin Rudd man!
    This is the last time I will ever mention Russia again,but there’s now talk that heritage players will be playing for Russia in this year’s European Shield and this is not acceptable at all.Whether Russia participates in this year’s competition remains to be seen, but I won’t lose any sleep over it if we don’t,because we have got more important things to worry about and that’s survival.
    As a member of the Russian Rugby League Board of Control,I told the others that this heritage thing isn’t on for 3rd or 4th Tier games of International Rugby League Football,as we are trying to grow and develop the game throughout the heart of Europe!
    It’s not on and I have made my feelings felt!

    • druzik says:

      Chris I have been in touch with the Russians Rugby League. You are NOT a member of the board of control for the RRL, so please stop saying so.

      The Euro Shield is a being promoted as a high statek competition. Winning it gets you qualification into the European Cup, I can see why the Russians want to track in some Heritage players, what happened to them against the likes of Lebanon and Italy was terrible, either you try and come to their level by also bringing heriage players or you bring the others down to only locals.

      Idealy you want to promote the locals, but the with important tournaments like the world cup qualifiers, where all other teams are stacking themselves and withing the world cup with also be stacked, you have to realise why they want to do that.

      Starting to build a good base of Heritage and locals players now, is the way to go, so in 4 years time when the next qualifiers come round it will be a much more competitive russia we see.

  4. Joel says:

    Message from a member:

    The CONI recognition works just like the RLEF one: there’s just One federation recognized. In this moment it is Italia RFL – IRFL.
    Following the Coni rules is just like following the RLIF rules of the game – as Italia RFL but it isn’t recognized.

  5. Chris Sanders says:

    What’s that suppose to all mean?You lost me Joel Morgan?

  6. Joel says:

    It was from one of our Italian members and I didnt paste the full message.

    CONI are already recognising the Italia RFL (Following the Coni rules (above) does not mean being part of it or being recognized). CONI recognise just the one federation based on indepth criteria and procedures.

    Just like RLIF does not regonise both USA or Italian feds

  7. Chris Sanders says:

    As far as I am concerned, I am and that’s not correct.I am the only one supporting them financially and I will not allow them to sully my integrity!This was put in the system weeks ago and those were the conditions in reguards to the sponsorship which is five figured in American dollars!
    No one else is giving them any help and if so who are they??
    The RLIF,RLEF and RFL have abandoned them!

    • druzik says:

      OK, Chris you can’t just go and install yourself on a board no matter what you think you are doing. If you have not been legally voted in or asked to come in then YOU ARE NOT ON TH BOARD, no matter what you may think. Those types of actions are what sully integrity. So I have been told by the Russians you are NOT on the board, you have been asked to represent their interests in New Zealand only. You don’t get a say in the running of the RRL.

      I have no problem with you helping them financially. All countries and sports are struggling with getting sponsors, it’s not a Russian thing. If you haven’t noticed the European economy is a bit kaka at the moment. So organisations have to work twice as hard to get help. If they can have individuals like your self help them out then that is wonderful, but not everyone has that opportunity.

  8. Chris Sanders says:

    That’s not true!I wanted a position on their Board as I will be the only sponsor they will get as no one else is going to sponsor them and I have also left Russian Rugby League a lot of money in my trust which is 6 figured in New Zealand dollars only!
    If I am not put on Russian Rugby League Board within 7 days that will be withdrawn and I want a letter of apology from the Russian Rugby League within that time frame as well!
    I can’t represent their interest in NZ if that is not processed!
    I have got nothing in writing from RRL stating otherwise!

    • druzik says:

      I think that comment right there shows the true colours of your motives as far as I am concerned. You should never force someone to install you on the board, it will build resentment and eventually you become the bad guy… Chris you don;t realise I don’t think. Your public rants and comments like that are doing nothing but hurting RRL.

      If I were a potential sponsor, and I saw you writing these kinds of things publicly, in your aggressive manner, then there is no way in hell I would come near RRL with even a 40 m barge pole if you were on their board. Its bad business! And you know I will tell the RRL as much, I am not sure they are aware of your comments.

      Please have a think about that. Have you ever looked at this in this way, over all your years dealing in Rugby League, it seems that administration after administration don’t want to deal with you, you claim its their problem, well the common denominator seems to be yourself, maybe the way you approach things it is that you are the problem?

  9. Chris Sanders says:

    The RRL Board are hopeless and with John Slade being there within earshot now,people are starting to get told the truth at long last and we starting to get information out of Russia which has not be been the case for years and years!
    Even if I was not involved with RRL in any shape or form, where would they get any sponsorship from?
    If I put my hard earnt money there then I deserve to have a say how it’s spent and how the game is run there don’t I and the RLIF aren’t going to take any notice of John Slade and I if we don’t go on to a revamped RRL Board as Independents to give them more of a a voice on the outside!
    If I wasn’t prepared to put money into RRL then I should shut my mouth shouldn’t I??

    • druzik says:

      How so are they hopeless Chris? They seem to be starting to try and get interest going in Russian Rugby League. There is a lot of movement now on Facebook, twitter and forums. Consdidering they have only really just settled everything down and got to a point where they have a proper board again, they need time. If within another year they have no sponsors then you can be justified in you views. Right now lets see where it goes. Certainly I have had much movement on facebook myself and this is a good start if they are hitting all the Rugby League pages. That will definitely get interest from groups.

      Now, I understand where you are coming from with the way you send money, and Russel Crowe was the same with South Sydney, However like I said before, that does not give you a god given right to declare yourself on the board. Russel had to go through a whole thing of getting voted, campaigning to show why he should run the club, you need to do the same, you need to prove yourself to be on the board. The biggest obstacle I see, however is that you are NOT living in Russia. You need people in Russia and Europe to be on the board, since that is the most likely source of income.

      It is great that you are putting your money in, lots of people do this, nothing wrong with that and I am not criticizing that, in fact I commend you for it, but like with any other sponsor that does not give you the automatic right to do sit on the board. If Pepsi sponsor a team, does that mean they have to have a representative on the Board? No, they are just a sponsor, and that is the way it is here in reality. YOU HAVE TO PROVE yourself to the RRL that what you have to offer is in fact beneficial to them outside of just your dollars. I sponsored the Jamaican academy last year, does that mean I must sit on the Jamaican Academy board? Hell no, I as a sponsor trust that the board will do the right thing with the money I offer. It does not give me a right to do anything other than give them my money.

      Chris the best thing you can do for the RRL right now:
      1. Stop your campaign of getting a vendetta on who ever has crossed your path in the last 30 years in Rugby League. People have moved on and so should you. Unless you have evidence to take to the courts you need to stop the public campaign. It shown complete unprofessionalism and an inability to negotiate with people.
      2. Help RRL by actively seeking to find sponsors for them. If you feel that can’t do it themselves, help them out. Meet with people in NZ, try to convince them with positives why it is good to invest in the RRL, I am sure there are large ex-pat russian communities in NZ where something can be done.
      3. Write positive articles, get your own website up and running where you can do good positive work, or write for magazines and papers highlighting the good of RRL and what could be achieved for businesses with RRL.
      4. You need to become much more professional in the way you approach things. As I mentioned in a previous post, if I were a potential sponsor and I read the things you say I would come no where near any organisation associated with you while you are behaving like this.

      Now, so much for not mentioning RRL, hey? 😉

  10. Interested Observer says:

    This was my point too Chris in some previous posts/threads. People make some big decisions based on their perceptions of others. Right or wrong, those perceptions do have an impact. I mentioned that you need to be mindful and aware that how you behave online impacts on those you are wanting to support.

    I’m sure the RRL don’t want one of their stakeholders saying things like ‘stick it up their arse’ or similar when discussing rugby league news and articles. It doesn’t look very professional and I am sure that any competition or organisation, no matter what their level, likes a professional appearance.

  11. Chris Sanders says:


    • druzik says:

      Nice response Chris. This tends to show that you only want to read and hear what you want. Rather than maybe listening to advice from people that have had to deal with businesses for a while and know how to negotiate contracts and know the meaning of first impressions, your response is “Whatever”… not very smart.

  12. Chris Sanders says:

    And who is their Board Daniel?Name them??

    • druzik says:

      Well from the information I have gained over time and from discussions. The main board (of control) for the Russian Rugby League is:
      Edgard Taturyan – President
      Alexey Morozov – Vice President
      Sergey Kashutin – Board Member, International Committee
      Sergei Kravets – Information
      Andrey Volkov – Coaching Committee
      Alexander V. Volkov – Judiciary Committee
      Edward Yu Osokov – Head Coach
      Victor Sapozhnikov – Board member and website
      Anatoly Broslav -Board Member
      Arthur Martirosyan – Board member and Ukranian Rugby League
      John Slade – RRL overseas development officer (to be made official still)

      There are then a whole heap of others that control the various aspect of the game regionally and in the juniors… I am not sure if they are on the board of Control, though they are involved with the running of the game:
      Viktor Kraev – Conference Center
      Vladimir Kushnerchuk – Conference South
      Gregory Y. Esin – St. Petersburg
      Vladimir E. Kozlov – Women’s Rugby League
      Igor Abanin – Junior Rugby League

      Then there are the representatives of clubs teams in the RRL:
      Vadim Fedchuk – Storm, Coach
      Dmitry V. Litvinov – St. Petersburg
      Shamil Akbulatov – RBC
      Artem Grigoryan – RBC
      Ilgiz Filgatovich Galimov – Bears, Coach/Referee
      Alexander Lysokon – RFC Vereya
      Viktor Sorokin – Young Dynamo
      Alexey Schegelsky – Nara

      And then there are other RRL representatives abroad:
      Alex Tukavkin – Australia
      Chris Sanders (if you accept) – New Zealand

      I think that just about covers it!

      • druzik says:

        Chris, Unfortunately you comments have not gone unnoticed in Russia and elsewhere. I think fear that any chance you have had to work with the RRL have disappeared or at best greatly, greatly diminished.

  13. Chris Sanders says:

    Good!At least I am going to put my money where my mouth is when John Slade arrives,which is more than what anyone else is prepared to do,as they still have no sponsor after 2 years.I have been their lone voice on the outside since the turmoil in March 2010 when a ruthless conspiracy ruthlessly tried to destroy the sport for one and for all in the Russian Federation,while the rest of the Rugby League World sat back and did nothing,which showed that they didn’t care.
    John is also meeting people from Singapore Rugby League where he will spend 3 nights on his way to New Zealand and hopefully he will make contact with Tas Baiteri and as he’s not officially on the RRL Federation or Board as a Representative,it won’t make any impact at all,as Tas doesn’t have to deal with him or I and once again RRL have shot themselves in the foot,when they had a huge opportunity to put their argument across.
    Again RRL haven’t listened and done things right,but you can lead a horse to water and can’t make him drink.
    If RRL don’t want to work with me,it’s their lost as others Rugby League’s want my services free of charge,such as Russian Army Rugby League!
    However,there are 3 great people on RRL and they are,Edward Osokov who learnt a great deal under John Stankevitch who’s a great coach in the making and should be the next French RL Coach and I told Tas that,Victor Sapozhnikov who does a lot of good work for RRL without any kind of renumeration and of course Arthur Martirosyan who invented the game in the Ukraine.

    • druzik says:

      Actually John is on the board, he has accepted the role as their International Development Officer. As I understand he has been voted in this week. See Chris, John knows how to talk with people to promote the sport in a good manner. Hence he has been asked to come on.

      Now the Russians did ask you to be their representative in New Zealand matters, but not living in Russia it hard to put you on the board. The fact that they wrote and official letter to make you this and you have plainly rejected that through your own selfishness and self interest is plainly rude and a slap in the face to the Russian Rugby League. I am not sure about your claims about you being their sole voice. You have been going onto two or three websites/forums and making outlandish claims. You are not promoting anything in any way. Victor Sapozhnikov has been doing the campaign of getting things out on Facebook and twitter and keeping the site updated.

      Tas will deal with anyone who is reasonable and if John is there and is able to set it up then I can tell you Tas will meet with him. I do know that the RRL are looking to make contacts in Asia, and that is a good move, it will help all nations I feel.

      Chris the way you rant and rave on, are you surprised no one is listening to you, no person or business in their right mind would work with someone who is making such unprofessional public displays.

  14. Chris Sanders says:

    And I won’t accept and I have resigned as this is now official on RLIS,as John and I, should be on that RRL Board as Independents, as we could of represented the Interests of RRL down here in NZ where the RLIF could be meeting at the end of April,as the Anzac Test is to be played at Eden Park on April 20th.
    John Slade would of been in the right place at the right time,to make his presnce felt and if they don’t want me, at least John should come on to that Board, to make an impact at RLIF level as they won’t listen to the rest!

  15. Chris Sanders says:

    I am only putting my point of view across!

    • druzik says:

      Yes one that has been done to death, one where you promised not to mention and you did, one where you always deliberately go off the topic of the particle to your own agenda. Its not a point of view but an agenda on your part.

  16. Chris Sanders says:

    Ok!Subject closed!

  17. Chris Sanders says:

    I will not as people aren’t interested in RRL cas there’s no money to be gained there at the moment,but if there is,then see who then jumps on the bandwaggon!
    History has a change habbit of repeating itself and we saw how people jumped on the gravvy train when Akhmet Kamaldinov ran RRL between 2001 to 05!
    Good people like myself who always paid their own way into Russia, were shafted sideways in favour of ratbags just looking for the clip of te meal ticket!
    Rugby League is still a charity for no hopers!

    • druzik says:

      Chris… you know what right now you are being a pest. Its nothing to do with not wanting to help RRL … you just have no idea what you want or are doing. You are alienating everyone around you because you don;t want to listen.

      When the topic is on Russian Rugby League, you have your say, when its not stay off it for crying out loud, its not what people want.

      People want to help, and do help they just go about it in a more sensible manner than you.

  18. Chris Sanders says:

    And John is still the boss of Estonia Rugby League and he can go to any RLIF meeting I have been told!
    He can also represent Russia’s Interest as well but I can’t go to the RLIF meetings,because I represent no one and the RRL Federation have said that I am not a member of their Board.
    In reguards to RRL,I am a nobody!

    • druzik says:

      No one said that he wasn’t the Boss of Estonian Rugby league.

      You did have an opportunity to be a somebody for them, to be their representative in New Zealand, but you rejected that. So do not complain.

  19. Chris Sanders says:

    Both the NZRL and the Auckland Rugby League won’t deal with me!

  20. Chris Sanders says:

    Of course not,but I now got plenty of support here in Auckland and around the Countryside and there’s going to be big changes soon!
    The World will be our oyster and it will be a case of out with the old and in with the new,the genuine Rugby League folk who will make the necessary changes,that will not only bennefit the game here,but the World Game as well!

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